Micah’s Office, Part 2 | A Use-What-You-Have Home Office Transformation

See the first part of the story here. The problem, thought process, and rational behind the decisions.

Quick reminder: here is where we started:

Desk/Work Area

Following the floor plan mentioned before, the L desk arrangement was rotated to have the coffee table along the left wall and Micah’s desk jutting out into the middle of the room. This puts Micah’s work space directly under the overhead light. Light issue resolved! Yes! Well, partially, the coffee table is still somewhat shadowed (because the light is still behind Micah once he turns to work at the coffee table) so we kept the desk lamp on the desk but switched the side it’s on so that it illuminates the coffee table area.

The tall thinner bookshelf was purged (Betsey and I were on a mission to get this room functional, so we used this time to also get rid of anything they didn’t need anymore.) then relocated to their guest bedroom.ย  Yay for more breathing room!

The tall and wide, cube bookshelf was moved to the center of the back wall. It is no longer looming on the left when you enter the room. It gives more balance in this location. (Pardon the blurry composite photo…I did not spend enough time getting the right shots of this room!)

The short cube bookshelf was moved to go in front of Micah’s desk. The purpose here was threefold (1) to hid the cords and other disarray from the computer, printer, and label maker; (2) to provide a landing zone for the books Betsey and Micah are currently reading (and will need to grab to make use of their reading spot); and (3) to provide an area to display the decor items they love and have special meaning.

In the back right corner of the room is the first spot that was free to use the decor items Betsey had collected and loved but couldn’t figure out how to make work in a room. Notice the two baskets in the bottom left corner of this before picture.

Betsey had two lovely baskets, but they didn’t have a good home. They had wandered around the room, more out of being in the way than adding to the visual pleasure, if you will, of the room. I love the blue in the wicker vase. Whatever faux plants these are, they play well off the lavender walls.

Their home is now the right front corner with a bird print above it. The colors play nicely with each other and the wall, and we’ve put to use some pretties that have been homeless for years!

The Reading Nook

Betsey has a love of papasan chairs. She has two double papasan chairs in her home. I wanted this chair to look homey and intentional in this room.

When I think of a reading nook, I think it needs three things:

  • Comfy, cozy place to sit or lay
  • A light source
  • Meaningful decor
  • A place to set a drink or book

We accomplished almost all those things in this space:

  • Comfy, cozy place to sit or lay – double papasan chair
  • A light source – I moved the unused, not even plugged in, floor lamp from the back left corner to sit in the space behind the chair. Since this is an upward facing light, it also helps to illuminate the whole room. Micah could even turn it on for more light while working. Double win!
  • Meaningful decor – Betsey had a motivational collage she’d created that we hung above the chair. This is very personal, but I think your home should speak to you and give you pleasure when you see it. This picture gives her pleasure and reminds her of things she strives for. This is perfect and lovely for this spot.
  • A place to set a drink or book – We didn’t get this in place yet. The office was quite crowded with books (remember, Micah had just brought home 300!), and I didn’t want to over crowd the space. I may revisit this later with them, but for now, there’s no where to set your cup of hot cocoa while you read. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the furniture was all moved into its new home, I had Betsey lay out on the floor all the art work and decor items she’d collected over the years. We set to work hanging things on the walls. I think hanging pictures/artwork and curtains do wonders to make a room feel like home.

We hung the motivation poster above the papasan chair.

We hung the bird print above the baskets in the corner.

We created a collage with a bunch of different pieces above Micah’s work space. This is my favorite part. We laid the arrangement out on the floor first and moved pieces in and out, and tweaked and tweaked until we had an arrangement we liked. The best part of this? Using beautiful pieces they received for their wedding (8 years ago!) but had never had a home. All of these pieces hold meaning to Micah and Betsey in some way.

Well, except the clock. I made them put the clock in. It was left in the house by the previous owners. It doesn’t even work, and Betsey hates the noise of a ticking clock so she wouldn’t let me put new batteries in. Ha! So I guess not everything has meaning. ๐Ÿ™‚

Micah’s had a couple weeks to work in the new space, and I’m happy to report it is working out well! We are still finding a solution for his scale.

The best part of this project? It cost $0 and only 3 hours of elbow grease. The elbow grease would’ve been significantly less if we didn’t have 300+ books to move out and then back into the room. We moved all the furniture, purged, and organized during naptime on a Saturday (about two hours) then decorated for about an hour the next morning.

All of this was great fun for me, the planning, thinking, mock-up of the design, but the best part is this:

I๏ธ just love that everything is in a place with purpose.

I like purpose, function, AND beauty in a space.

A1C 6.1

It’s already been 3 months since my last endocrinologist visit! Time is just flying at our house. I’m still on a roller coaster of sorts over here.

Let me catch you up:

  1. Accident gluten intake through our homemade barbecue sauce. Homemade! Not even eating out, there’s no one to blame but ourselves. This took 3-ish weeks to resolve and get back to normal (i.e. eczema on my right hand takes 2-3 weeks to go away after a gluten ingestion.).
  2. Then late August/early September my blood glucose (BG) started to be higher, not astronomical, but higher than desired. I was hitting 150 or even 170 in the morning a couple days a week.
  3. I read a new book,ย The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. A friend with similar medical history as me (atypical gestational diabetes) had read it and recommended it. She had not tried the author’s “solution” though. I decided to go all in and do the elimination diet. What did I have to lose?

I had my regular, quarterly check-up with my endocrinologist 1.5 weeks into the elimination diet. I was already feeling great and seeing good results which was encouraging going into the appointment.

I was a bit nervous though to see my A1C results though due to items 1 and 2 above. How much did those issues derail my three month blood glucose average?

Bottom line? They didn’t.

My A1C was 6.1.


This was even lower than my last A1C of 6.6 in July! I totally didn’t expect this. I’m elated! I’ve found a way to stop the progression of my Type 1 diabetes, and I’m still able to eat tasty foods!

So for now grain-free (which by definition means gluten-free too!) and dairy-free is the life for me!

Exterior Tour

It’s been a long time coming, but here’s the outside of the Fixer Upper. It was raining this morning, so I had a hard time taking good pictures. Sorry for the graininess!



The side and back yards are pretty sad when it comes to the condition of the grass and landscaping. This side has a fair amount of grass, but you’ll see the other two sides of the house below. It’s just dirt!




Oh heavens…the dirt! The stumps!



The deck looks ok from this angle….


Except it’s dirty and kind of shabby! The porch is mostly sturdy (except the stairs which you’ll see below), but look at the mildew/moss/mold!




Here’s the stairs…notice the handrail pulling away from the stairs? We’ll need to get that fixed before too many kids start hanging out here.


And the other side yard…also void of grass…


That’s all, folks!ย  (Anyone remember the closing screen of looney toons…aww….good times!)

She needs a lot of work, but we’re ready to do it….we think!

There’s a Bump!



It looks so much bigger to me when I look down than it does in these pictures. I’m 18 weeks now. Where is the time going? In a little over a week, well get to “see” Stoochinski!

My First Maternity Shirt

I broke out my first maternity shirt this week (much thanks to my friends for their loaners!).


There’s not much belly there but it’s enough to make my regular shirts not fit.

That picture was on Tuesday, and by today, Friday, I’m in full maternity gear (although the pants are still a little big). I was coming home from work with indentations from my pants on my stomach. Oops. No need to squeeze Stoochinski to death!

The Fixer-Upper – Floor Plan is a nifty little tool that allows you to draw floor plans, to scale, of any type of building. You can even fill it with furniture, cars, rugs, add a roof, etc. It has a ton of options. It is free, but the functionality is limited. If you want more options, the annual fee isย ยฃ10. I have no idea what that is in dollars…$12…$15? I think the free version is good enough for most uses.

The tool does take a little getting used to. I put in quite a few hours, and my drawings are still not accurate. I attribute that mostly to user error though. I did get better and faster as I went. It is nice that you can save your designs and come back to edit them later. That saved this girl from throwing the computer across the room the first night I tried to use it.

I just got the appraisal back, and it has a floor plan sketch in it. I forgot the bump-out on the main and second floor. I figured it out in the basement, but it was a lot of work to go fix the other floors. Laziness won.

Main Floor

Main Floorplan_small copy

Second Floor

Second Floorplan copy


Basement Floorplan copy

There’s lots of floor space and lots of good work to be done! I’m excited for the challenge.

We Bought A House

We weren’t planning on it.

We weren’t looking for a house.

But one kind of dropped in our lap that was kind of perfect for us.

The circumstances were perfect. They layout was perfect. The neighborhood was perfect. It seemed like everything was perfect…so…

We jumped on it!

We got a call from our friend/realtor on a Friday, mid-morning. He saw a foreclosure in one of our desired neighborhoods just drop the price. He was calling around to any of his friends to see if they were interested.

Were we interested?

Why not? We might as well take a look. It never hurts to take a look. Right?

I perused the listing waiting for Dan to finish work. I had pretty much decided that this house did not have any resale potential by the time he got off work. (We are still planning to build. The timeline is looking to be much longer than originally thought. Isn’t that how it always works? So…this is just a temporary house. It needs to be re-sellable.) The layout didn’t look ideal. It looked like it might have a Michigan basement. (yikes!) It just wasn’t looking very workable for us.

After work, Dan and I meet up with our realtor at the house. We trudge through the 2 feet of freshly fallen snow from the night before to get to the front door. Fun times…it was higher than my boots!

The good thing about foreclosures: you don’t have to take your shoes off! No worries about stepping in something yucky in the house or just getting my socks wet with the melting snow we were bringing in.

As we walked through the house, our spirits lifted a little with each room.

Living Room – Oooo, the fireplace works, and the space is nice and light.

Dining Room – The space is HUGE compared to our last house.

Kitchen – Not many perks here. It’s just a small as our old house, but it does have room for some bar stools by the peninsula thanks to the extra large dining room.

Laundry – It’s on the main floor!

Upstairs bedrooms – All are larger than our first house.

Basement – It’s completely finished! No Michigan basement! It has 2 bedrooms, a family room, a storage room, and a partial finished FULL bathroom.

Garage – An extra wide, extra deep 2 car garage. Score! We can pull both cars inside AND open the doors!

Outside – Landscaping plus professionally installed underground sprinkling (installed by someone who goes to our church and we know does good work). Woot!

Needless to say, we were hooked. We put an offer in that night. Since it was a weekend, we didn’t hear back from the company until Wednesday morning (they don’t respond until 48 “business hours” later.) which was agonizing to wait that long. They countered, we countered, and within an hour, they accepted. By noon the Wednesday following, we had bought a house.

Gasp…somebody pinch me!

A fixer-upper is something I’ve dreamed about for some time. I drool over DIY and interior design blogs, dreaming of the day I can do it myself. Well, it looks like that day has come. Look out world, Emily (and Dan!) is fixing up a house.

Let’s hope I don’t blow something up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pictures to come!

Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza

One huge benefit of my new method of bread making, is having dough on hand to make pizza in a flash.

Now I had planned to make pizza when I went grocery shopping this weekend, but I could not find the pepperoni for the life of me when I started making the pizza. Oh well, life goes on. It will be a mushroom and onion pizza! Doesn’t quite have the same ring…

Slice the onion…

Do you like our knife?

The regular knives are getting sharpened. We’re improvising here!

Chop up jalapenos and mushrooms (with a butter knife)…

Shred some cheese…

Mix up some sauce. I got the basic recipe from $5 Dinner Mom (I just leave out the oil). It’s super easy and uses ingredients most people have on hand.

Quick Pizza Sauce

  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Spread the sauce on the crust…

Layer on the cheese and mushroom…


Onions and jalapenos (if you like it spicy)…

And…SURPRISE…I found the pepperoni! So slap that on top!

My pizzas tend to get a little thick. What I thought was going to be a skimpy pizza turned out quite substantial.

Bake that sucker at 375 for about 30 minutes or until crust is cooked through and browned.

Enjoy the spicy side with added crushed red pepper:

or the normal side:

both with a side of orange. ๐Ÿ™‚